The transistor has been called the greatest invention of the 20th century, and billion transistor chips will have a profound impact on life in the 21st century. Since the first silicon MOSFET in 1960, transistors have gotten smaller and smaller, and to understand and model them a deeper and deeper understanding of charge carrier transport was needed. In the 1960’s, square law MOSFETs could be treated with drift-diffusion equations. As channel lengths approached one micron in the late 1970’s, high-field velocity saturation became important, and in the 1980’s, velocity overshoot in sub-micron MOSFETs came into play. In the 1990’s, we entered the deep sub-micron era where quasi-ballistic and even ballistic transport became important, and as channel lengths shrunk to the nanoscale in the 2000’s, the emphasis shifted to quantum transport. Since 1960, research on carrier transport proceeded hand in hand with technology development as channel lengths decreased. The frontiers of knowledge were extended, and we now have a deep understanding of carrier transport in nanoscale MOSFETs. Experts continue to dive deeper, but Carver Mead has pointed out that more is needed. Periodically, we need to pull back from frontier research the new understanding that should become the working knowledge of all semiconductor engineers. This talk is my attempt to follow Carver Mead’s advice. My goal is to convince you that the operation of nanoscale MOSFETs is easier to understand than a textbook, square law MOSFET. I’ll argue that it is time to re-write our textbooks to prepare a new generation of students to advance electronics in the 21st century.
Mark Lundstrom is the Don and Carol Scifres Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University where he has been on the faculty since 1980. In 2020, he served as acting dean of Purdue’s College of Engineering. His research on semiconductor devices, the physics of electronic, thermal, and electro-thermal carrier transport, and modeling and numerical simulation has been recognized by several awards as have his contributions to education. He is the author of four textbooks and was the founding director of the Network for Computational Nanotechnology, which created the nanoHUB.org science gateway – a major online resource for nanoelectronics. Dr. Lundstrom is a Life Fellow of the IEEE, a fellow of the APS and AAAS, and a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering.
This colloquium can be seen in-person in 1002 Grainger Auditorium, ECE Bldg., and is also being streamed and recorded on Echo360, https://echo360.org The live streaming will be available only to students enrolled in ECE 500. Others are advised to attend the colloquium in person. The recording will be available to the public.